Brazil’s economy experienced ups and downs over the past decade. Almost immediately after Forbes published an article raving about Brazil’s entrepreneurial potential in 2012, Brazil entered one of the most disastrous economic crises in the region. Just this year, stories of political corruption, monetary deflation, and falling commodity prices have plagued Latin America’s largest country.
Brazil is a country of contradictions. In the first three months of 2018, Brazil produced three new startup unicorns. The first was 99, acquired by Didi Chuxing for a rumored US$1B. Then in quick succession, PagSeguro reached US$2.7B in its January 2018 IPO (the 5th highest IPO ever), and Nubank became the third unicorn of 2018 with a US$150M Series E round in March 2018.
As the largest market in Latin America, with a population of over 210 million people, Brazil is still the most attractive country for investment and growth in the region for many investors. Despite the economic downturn, international investors often look to Brazil first when they want to enter the Latin American market. Many tech giants, such as Google, Uber, Airbnb, and Amazon, have built offices in São Paulo before moving into other Latin American markets. Many entrepreneurs look to invest in Brazil for their long-term growth strategies, as well.
Movile is a global leader in mobile marketplaces with a dream to make life better for 1 billion people through marketplaces on their mobile devices. Movile is a remarkable story of innovation from Latin America, driven by people who are willing to take risks to learn and grow quickly.
I sat down with the CEO and founder of Movile, Fabricio Bloisi, to talk about why he started Movile and how he and his team grew it to the largest mobile company in Brazil and Latin America.
Movile focused on innovating and exploring advanced technologies
In its early stage, Movile focused on text messages (SMS) and then enabled ringtone commerce in Brazil, as well as the development of the country’s first Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) search portal. In 2007, Bloisi focused on expansion. In 2008, and Movile built itself into the largest company in the Latin American mobile commerce industry through new products and mergers and acquisitions, establishing a presence in over ten countries with offices in Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Colombia, and Mexico.
Brazil is already a global player in the e-commerce industry. It is the only Latin American country to crack the top ten retail e-commerce markets in the world. Despite Brazil’s recent economic slowdown, e-commerce grew by 11.5% in 2017 and is predicted to chart 10% growth in 2018. While these statistics show a significant drop from the 28% growth Brazil’s e-commerce market experienced in 2013, it is safe to say that Latin America’s e-commerce powerhouse will continue to dominate the region for the foreseeable future.
Brazil’s size has been a double-edged sword for its e-commerce industry. On the one hand, with approximately 140 million Internet users in a country of 211 million people, Brazil presents an enormous market for e-commerce. On the other hand, much like Argentina, Brazil struggles with complex land shipping logistics and high sales taxes, which slows down the growth of this industry.
Nonetheless, the mood was optimistic at the 6th annual “E-Commerce Brazil” conference in 2017, with retailers viewing Brazil as an opportunity rather than a challenge. Up to 52% of Brazilian shoppers already research products online before purchasing, and that number is growing. (more…)
This post is the fifth in a series about Latin American venture capital ecosystems. Read Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.
I recently wrote about the growing business opportunities in Brazil, the fifth largest country in the world and home to one of the most tech-savvy populations in Latin America. Despite the recent political turbulence and recession, Brazilian startups are still attracting plenty of attention from investors. New government initiatives and a growing interest from foreign investors are building momentum for Brazil’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
If you’re an investor or seeking funding opportunities for your venture, below is a brief overview of the venture capital ecosystem in Brazil.
Anjos do Brasil – Anjos do Brasil is a nonprofit founded in 2011 to help further the development of angel investment in Brazil. The organization has over 16 affiliated groups and 350 members across the entire country.
Startup Angels – Startup Angels is an international network that inspires and enables angel investors worldwide, with an office in São Paulo, Brazil’s financial capital. (more…)